Joburg COVID-19 Lockdown Journal: Day 5

by | Mar 31, 2020 | COVID-19, Johannesburg | 20 comments

If you’re new to this blog series (and/or you live under a boulder) and don’t know what’s happening with South Africa’s 21-day lockdown, my first post  has all the details. Or read all my lockdown journal entries.

It’s Lockdown Day 5 and I have a lot to say.

beaded bird in my garden
Lockdown photo Day 5: Birdwatching.

My thoughts are numerous:

  1. I just realized that if I continue publishing one post per day throughout the lockdown, which I plan to do, I will publish my 1000th 2Summers blog post on 11 April (Day 16 of the lockdown). It’s a weird time to celebrate that kind of milestone but I’m pretty excited about it. I’m sure it will help keep me going over the next 10 days.
  2. My muscles are sore from all the skip-roping, which is actually a good feeling.
  3. I’ve been trying hard to save my Baker Brothers sourdough bread for as long as possible. Today I took it out of the fridge and noticed there was mould on the outside. Instead of throwing the bread away, as I would have in the past, I just cut the mouldy crust off. These are like medieval times, people. Anyway I will probably have to visit my beloved Melville Spar for a grocery run fairly soon.
  4. “Clean tub and toilet” has been on my to-do list for the past three days. Any guesses as to how many more days pass before I actually cross that one off?
  5. I found watching this YouTube video very relaxing. Thanks to Annie at Eremophila for sharing.
  6. This article about police abuses happening in Hillbrow, written by journalists I know and trust, is very concerning. I also saw a video (posted by a reputable journalist) of police firing rubber bullets at people through the window of their moving car. South Africa’s poorest, most disenfranchised people are being victimized terribly in this lockdown. It’s not okay, and the government needs to do better.

My final thought is too long for the bulleted list.

Over the past two days I’ve received a few comments, in response to my recent posts, to the effect of:

Heather, it’s great that you care so much, but you really need to start focusing on positive things and not dwelling on all the problems in the world, which you have no control over.

I truly understand these comments come from a good place. They’re coming from lovely people who I know pretty well (either in real life or over the internet), and I appreciate their concern for my well-being. And it’s not the norm for me to dwell on what other people think about me in this blog. But at this particular time, I feel compelled to reflect.

The events happening in the world right now are unprecedented in modern times. Humanity is under threat and the scope of the tragedy unfolding around us is beyond comprehension. Also we live in a hyper-connected world that makes it very difficult to unplug — especially for those of us whose job it is to communicate with others about the times we’re living in.

We all have different ways of coping and we’re figuring it out as we go. Some choose to restrict or eliminate their consumption of news and social media. Some choose to absorb everything — reading constantly, thinking constantly, communicating constantly. Others are somewhere in between.

I see nothing wrong with any of these coping strategies. In times of crisis, we all need to do what we need to do make sure we’re okay — or as okay as possible under the circumstances — as long as we’re not lashing out or hurting others.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is to support each other as best we can without making judgements about other people’s coping skills.

If any of you are worried about me, please know I’m doing just fine. In fact, I have a greater sense of energy and purpose than I’ve had in a long time.

Yes, I read and listen to a lot of news and sometimes that news makes me sad, angry, and scared. (Wouldn’t it be weird if it didn’t?) I also choose to write about what’s happening and process my emotions through words. But my coping strategy is a conscious choice.

I’m eating healthy, exercising, sleeping as best I can, meditating, doing therapy, and connecting with friends and family. These are my conscious choices. I won’t question your choices (unless you ask me to) if you don’t question mine.

Also, I consider it my responsibility as a blogger to communicate about what’s happening during this lockdown, and to try to vocalize the feelings of confusion, frustration, fear, and helplessness many of us have. I take that responsibility seriously.

All that said, I’ve inadvertently judged many other people’s choices over the past few weeks. We all do it without meaning to. If I’ve judged your choices lately, I apologize. I’ll try to do better. And I think we all should.

Trixie in the trees
Here’s a cute cat to lighten the mood.

Lockdown Diary

6:30 a.m.: Wake up. Read news, social media. Meditate, stretch. Make coffee. Get dressed.

7:30 a.m.: 20 laps around the house. 1750 skips. Two minutes plank. Feel amazing.

8:30 a.m.: Garden photoshoot with Trixie and beaded bird. The Melville Cat is hiding out somewhere.

9:00 a.m.: Breakfast, podcasts, bath. Procrastinate.

10:00 a.m.: Work, back up photos, chat with friends, eat lunch, do laundry and dishes, read news.

3:00 p.m.: Blog.

My lockdown diaries seem to be growing shorter. I guess I have a bit of a rhythm going now, which is good.

Today’s Worthy Cause

This is a really cool opportunity to improve your French while helping hardworking people who have lost their income during the lockdown. (I should really do it myself.) My friend Ryan posted this on Facebook today:

This is a message for anyone who might be looking to improve or keep up their French as a hobby during the lockdown, aka le confinement.

I’ve been doing French conversation practice with two excellent teachers, both of whom I wholeheartedly recommend to all of you.

The first is Bastin, who is Congolese and normally works as a car guard at Rand Steam. He’s a kind, patient, and fun teacher.

The second is  David Bahati, also Congolese, who is studying at Wits to be a professional translator. (See his flyer below.) I’ve known Dave for a long time, and he’s a very smart guy with a very big heart. 

You can talk to either of them by video chat, and it’s a great way to practice French and also help out two refugees in Johannesburg who can’t work right now because of the lockdown.

They both charge R150 ($8) an hour, which is an absolute steal. You can reach them at:
Bastin : +27 78 566 0558
Dave : +27 81 525 5597

David Bahati French flyer

Don’t forgot you can take advantage of this opportunity even if you don’t live in South Africa. (Same goes for Coach X’s virtual personal training services, featured yesterday.)

Happy Lockdown and let’s be nice to each other.


  1. Nancy McDaniel

    Well said, Heather. Here in the US, people are coping in whatever way works best for them too (e.g. gobbling up ALL the news vs staying away from it – or at least DJT campaign rallies, er I mean press conferences. Stay well and do whatever works for you!

    • 2summers

      Hahahaha. Thanks for the chuckle Nancy 🙂

  2. Albert

    Ah, I love the fact that you post your lockdown diary earlier and earlier every night. Since I find myself going to bed earlier every night as well…. And getting up earlier too. I love the fact that I can spend more time lying in bed, listening to the hadedas in the mornings without having to race to work. Their raucous screeching is somehow soothing.

    • 2summers

      Yes. I’m trying hard not to work on these too late because I really don’t think we’ll at night! Enjoy the hadedas.

  3. Catrina

    Oops. Sorry, I’m one of those people who dished out well-meaning ”advice”. You’re right, people have different ways of coping – and what works for me will not necessarily work for the next person. I’m glad you pointed that out.
    I like sore muscles as well! They’re a confirmation that you worked hard! ????

    • 2summers

      It’s okay, I had forgotten you were one of the people ???? No offense taken. xx

  4. AutumnAshbough

    There is no one/ “right” way to cope. Everyone processes differently. Some people need space before they feel okay falling apart, and some people need to dwell obsessively before moving on.

    Some of us cope with dark humor. And some people accuse us of being unfeeling. I dunno why they can’t just scroll on by. Perhaps only those who are truly wise or at least secure in their process are accepting?

    Good for you for doing you and staying productive and having goals.

    • 2summers

      Thanks Autumn. Hope you guys are doing well!

  5. lindasneedLinda Sneed

    I’m sorry, Heather. I was one of “those”people”too. Guess I was worried about you “sobbing uncontrollably”. Glad you feel better now. This is a process for all of us.I know I started out wanting to feel productive but after 2 weeks I am not feeling the need, other than to keep my mental equilibrium!

    • 2summers

      That’s ok Linda, I get it. I appreciate the concern. But I also think it’s normal to sob uncontrollably sometimes when the world is in crisis 🙂

  6. eremophila

    Ma cherie, tres bon????????

  7. Caitlin Jean

    I really admire people like David, Bastin and Coach X, to be innovative during difficult times in order to survive. Such talent and skills people of Africa have and to be adaptable to change.

  8. Julie

    Thanks Heather, so true about the judgements, we should each cope in the ways that make sense for ourselves…some people just want to eat oysters!

    The french teachers and Coach X…. very awesome!!!

    • 2summers

      Hahahahahaaaaaa. So true 🙂

  9. Stan Morrison

    We are conditioned to think that the USA is ahead of South Africa in so many respects. But I think the roles are reversed in respect of health in general and COVID-19 in particular.

    Our son is in Oklahoma and it seems that their local authority’s reaction to the epidemic is down-right dangerous. Our son and his wife have isolated themselves voluntarily. Other people are going about their business are usual. I can understand your concern for your family in the Northern states, even though they are taking it all more seriously that those in the South. The statistics everywhere are frightening.

    Johnny Cash sang “These Things shall Pass”. We all just need to support ourselves and one another, doing what we know to be right and keeping faith, so that when we come out the other side we will can go about making the world a better place than it was before.

    • 2summers

      Thanks Stan, I agree. It’s hard worrying about family overseas – my mother lives in South Carolina and it’s the same story. All the best to you and your family 🙂


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